A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Sound of Music -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Before discussions begin on line about The Sound of Music being optically soft, as North by Northwest was presumed to be optically soft, allow me to repeat what I noted upon that Blu-ray release.

    Certain parts of the film were shot using softening filters toward different kinds for image diffusion. In that Blu-ray, it can easily be discerned.

    Same thing with The Sound of Music.

    Comparing the new Blu-ray to the previous standard def release, which I found problematic, is rather like comparing a flawless diamond to a piece of sea-worn glass.

    There is no comparison.

    Both visually and sonically, my hat is off to Fox's Schawn Belston and his selection of facilities and individuals to handle the myriad of problems for this heavily used 45 year old musical, one of the best-loved films of all time.

    Viewing the new Blu-ray, which was apparently scanned from a 65mm interpositive in 8k by FotoKem, is an extraordinary home theater experience. The larger one can view this release, the better it's going to look. The vibrancy of colors, richness of blacks, shadow detail, and total lack of misuse of digital tools is extremely evident. The final result looks very much like film. And in those unfiltered scenes -- the overall detail is stunning.

    In the history of film one could probably come up with just a few dozen titles for which the filmmaker was perfect for the project. This is one of them. An intelligent, kind and gentle film, directed by one of the most kind and gentle filmmakers to ever work in the industry. The Sound of Music is Robert Wise.

    I've mentioned before that there are currently two studios doing the highest level of preservation and restoration work, with that work going through to the final stages of Blu-ray production. One is Sony, which I prefer to think of as Columbia. The other is Fox, as I've noted above, what you're seeing is the work of Schawn Belston. I can't wait to see what he'll eventually do with Patton. Now there's a film that takes the other ethic of 65mm origination, ie. general lack of filtration and sharp as a tack.

    As a bit of minutia, but important minutia, fans of Marni Nixon get to see her in Sound of Music. Just look for Sister Sophia in the Maria number. For those who may not know the name, just think of her as Eliza Doolittle, Maria, Terry McKay, Anna Leonowens and others, all wrapped up into one incredibly talented package. While much of the film was dubbed with other singing voices, per Ms. Nixon, everyone in the Maria sequence was a professional singer, including Portia Nelson. The only actress to have a vocal replacement was Peggy Wood.

    The Sound of Music was the Best Picture of 1965. It is still one of the greatest films every created.

    This Blu-ray is up to the task of reproducing it.

    Very Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Screenwriter

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    What a relief to know that Fox got it right this time...finally!!!
     
  3. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    How thrilling that Fox has treated this film like the crown jewel that it is. I've waited many years to experience something close to what I saw in the theatre back in 1965 at home. I can't wait to pick this up tomorrow!
     
  4. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I now truly look forward to reliving a, ahem, long ago Sunday matinee at the roadshow run in Miami Beach.
     
  5. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    I saw this is the theater a few weeks ago and was flat out amazed--and moved. My whole family loved the film, from ages 9 to 47. I've purchased my blu-ray and expect it any day. Blu-ray has made it so that we are living in a new golden age for film for at least some titles.
     
  6. RichardSC

    RichardSC Extra

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    I have been waiting for this review - glad to hear that it has been worth the wait. Is a Blu-Ray update of Patton under the care of Schawn Belston in the works? Thank you.
     
  7. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review, Robert!
     
  8. Guest

    Thank you for the great insight Robert on this masterpiece. I have the privilege of watching this Blu-Ray early and you are absolutely right. This is still one of the greatest films ever made! And to FOX and Mr Belston - BRAVO! BRAVO!
     
  9. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    Wonderful news, for the film and for BD!

    I'm also wondering if there's something new in the works for 'Patton'.
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Thanks much, RAH, for the confirmation of what was looking like a top notch release. Plan to pick this up (along w/ Toy Story 3 and probably Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) later today -- not too often that I do that on release day.

    Ditto on the query about Patton.

    And Universal desperately needs to learn from Fox (and Sony) now.

    _Man_
     
  11. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Thanks for the thumbs up on this disc from Fox. I look forward to watching it tonight.

    RAH:

    My wife lived next door to Marni and her late great husband Ernest Gold as a child and used to stand around the grand piano
    listening to her practice her songs. When she saw her up on the screen as Sister Sophia this was a real big eye opener to see her
    next door neighbor up on the screen and hearing her sing what she had heard her sing at the house. Whenever she would
    hear her voice coming out of another person she was always puzzled as to why and how they did that.

    Parker
     
  12. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the great review!

    I was very disappointed in the previous two DVD releases (although the 40th Anniversary Edition was at least viewable) so I'm absolutely *ecstatic* to hear that Fox has finally provided an A/V experience that is worthy of this incredibly timeless and award winning movie!!

    Needless to say, I'm picking up my copy tonight ... and will probably purchase several more as Christmas gifts for various family members.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quote:

    Patton is rumored.
     
  14. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quote:

    Parker,

    I've passed your comment along to Ms. Nixon.

    RAH
     
  15. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    Regarding "Patton" and such: Let's get some new stuff -- "Oklahoma," "The King and I," "Carousel," "Hello Dolly!," the list goes on and on -- before we start redoing what's already out, even if it isn't practically perfect in every way (to almost name another that isn't out but should be).
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I totally agree on wanting those titles sooner rather than later (the two CinemaScope 55 films have been restored already). I also really want to see All That Jazz on Blu-ray, and without the inexplicable overly dark sea-green color schemes of the last DVD. I also would love to see Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (I'm guessing they will eventually redo the Marilyn Monroe titles). Imagine the Technicolor reds of the opening number dresses and how they can look in HD.



    I can tell that the restoration team at Fox really loves movies. And after the two disappointing DVDs of this film and the DNR overdose on Patton and The Longest Day it seems the two Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals released thus far prove that they, unlike Universal, have learned their lesson about the overuse of DNR. They have set a standard for all studios to live up to. Fox was the king of widescreen in the 1950s and 1960s, and I hope to see how far digital technology can help the early CinemaScope films look as good as possible.

    Now let's see if CBS/Paramount can do equally good work with My Fair Lady.
     
  17. john a hunter

    john a hunter Supporting Actor

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    here, here. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
     
  18. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    After a looooooooooooong wait, finally a home video presentation of TSOM that does it justice. My jaw literally dropped when I saw and heard this disc today! Wow! The image and sound are amazing. I've had practically every video version of this classic since home video was invented (VHS, laserdisc, DVD, and now blu). I couldn't be more pleased and Fox has done this title proud. Literally the first movie I ever saw at the age of 1, it's amazing to see it in such caring clarity 45 years later. I truly feel this is the "definitive edition."

    Bravo Fox.
     
  19. Marco S

    Marco S Agent

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    Oh Yes--Just watched the Target Version---It was so Todd-AO----But every time the I HAVE CONFIDENCE number ends, and the butler answers the door, I still think, oh, the disc is going to change to side 2.
     
  20. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Oh damn, it's too late at night to give the laugh that post deserves.

    Or as wife reminded me recently that my oldest grew up watching LD.

    When he was 2-3yo and used to watch Mary Poppins constantly and when the side break came he would frown and turn to Mom looking all confused and sad while pointing
    at the screen. Gently reassured that it going around to the other side -- he began to ask in a meek voice at first "Roun n roun to udder side??" watching the little arrow spinning
    on the screen and then gaining confidence rapidly over a couple month began dancing and singing "Round and round to the other side!" and clapping with great enthusiasm
    when the movie resumed. I think he though that Turtle on Side 4 was his pet turtle for a long time -- "Turtle's sleeping Daddy, Shhhh!"
     

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